‘Tis the season to talk about the Gluten Free Diet. Love it or hate it, this is the time of year people fondly refer to as The Holidays. For people with food allergies, intolerances and celiac disease the focus on food can be dreaded. The lack of awareness often surprising.
If the strategies you used last year left you feeling joyful, included and able to eat safe food at every occasion then you are in good shape for a worry free eating season. If not, here are some ideas to try this year.
Goals For Talking About The Gluten Free Diet
Let’s be clear, it is not your job to change anyone’s mind. You actually can’t do it. And you don’t want anyone trying to change your mind either. But you can share your knowledge and opinions about a topic that affects you and your family…the topic of celiac disease and the gluten free diet.
Not everyone gets it. Not everyone wants to get it.
So this holiday season why not sprinkle some facts into the conversation at the dinner tables and buffet lines you find yourself in. Eventually the gluten free diet as the treatment for celiac disease will be more widely understood. But for now, I wish you luck spreading awareness and I hope you have more than a few raw carrots to eat at all of your holiday events.
Great Conversation Starters For A Holiday Table
These statements are written the way I would casually say them at the dinner table. I hope you will reword, revise and create some that will be helpful for you. These are the conversations that lead to a better understanding of celiac disease and the gluten free diet and possibly a new perspective on the topic. Add your own humour and sarcasm as appropriate.
- Celiac disease is not an allergy, it's an autoimmune disorder. That means my body attacks and damages its own tissues. Basically if I eat gluten I’m killing myself.
- Yes, some people ‘cheat’ by eating gluten but they don't know the risk they're taking. Not everyone with celiac disease has symptoms but if they have celiac disease and eat gluten, they are still causing the same damage. They don't understand the risk of other autoimmune diseases and cancers.
- 1 in 100 people have celiac disease. In people with first-degree relatives (parent, child, sibling) who are celiac that increases a lot (fill in current number). That’s why all family members should be tested.
- Autoimmune what? An autoimmune disease is a problem where the immune system is not acting the way it is supposed to. Things like rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, thyroid disease, multiple sclerosis and many others are autoimmune diseases.
- Any type of diet can be healthy or unhealthy. A steady diet of gluten free junk food and gluten free processed food can’t be healthy. But I think it is generally agreed upon that the North American diet includes too much processed carbs…that category includes a lot of gluten.
- Believe me, some days it seems like there is gluten in everything but really, many foods are gluten free. It is processed foods where you find gluten and it’s surprising how many foods we eat that are processed in some way. From simple raw meat with added spices to likely every jar in your fridge, there is an ingredient list that includes additives and preservatives that could include gluten.
- Why get tested? Undiagnosed and untreated celiac disease can lead to other autoimmune disorders, serious health problems and lost years of life. Do it for the health of it. #JustDoIt
Good luck to everyone eating out this holiday season. If you have a positive experience to share I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.